New York state’s new coronavirus stay-at-home order has been extended until the end of May says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The New York “PAUSE” — which banned in March all but essential work — stays in effect in regions that do not meet specific COVID-19 criteria for reopening until 11:59 p.m. on May 28, 2020, according to an executive order signed Thursday.
“We’re starting to turn the valve,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing Friday.
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The order also continues New York’s state of emergency until June 13, 2020. with the caveat that this date may be amended or further extending.
Five of New York’s 10 regions — Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Finger Lakes — qualified to reopen when the initial stay-at-home order expired Friday.
New York City, which has met just four of seven benchmarks, is not among them.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he approved of Cuomo’s decision not to extend reopening to New York City, which once again saw stagnating progress in its indicators tracking progress against the virus.
Suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations rose from 59 on May 12 to 78 on May 13, the percentage of people testing positive rose from 11 percent on May 12 to 12 percent on May 13, but the number of ICU patients dropped from 517 to 506, city data show.
“Right now I think we’re all aligned,” de Blasio said. “The first half of June is the earliest we could begin to reopen.”
To reopen, regions have to meet benchmarks that include:
- Regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average.
- Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases, with at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available.
- Each region must be able to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month.
- Regions must have 30 contact tracers available for every 100,000 residents.
Any region hoping to reopen May 15, 2020, needed to provide a detailed plan that includes how rates of infection will be monitored, if health care capacity is enough to deal with any infection increase, and if the infrastructure is in place to do testing and tracing, Cuomo said.
Regions also need to have a plan in place for how people will return to work, including what measures businesses will have to ensure social distancing and mask-wearing.
When plans are approved, businesses will go back in four phases, with construction and manufacturing first, followed by professional services, retail, and real estate, then restaurants, food services, and accommodation.
The last phase would involve the arts, entertainment and recreation businesses.
Cuomo said if any spike in infection rates is seen by the region, a hard stop would be put in place again.
New York State has been under a stay-at-home order since March 22, 2020.